Weekend Once Again Was Out Of Control
Unlike my letter sent last year after the Hot Rod weekend, to which I was told to get off my soapbox, I think the better strategy this year is to use a bull-horn and guilt those responsible into doing the right thing. This weekend was shameful. After a full year of promises, the only difference this year was that the police were trying to have a presence but were woefully outnumbered and overwhelmed. Kudos for trying, but it is obvious to the residents that this show is out of control.
We must ask ourselves: what type of town do we want? Don’t tell us that we live in a resort and therefore, must put up with this sort of nonsense because we do not. And we will not. This past weekend was like a scene from the lawless wild-west. The cowboys came to town and shot up the place, daring us to do something about it. Well? Anyone want to wear a star?
How many laws must these people flaunt before something is done? If we are not going to enforce our ordinances for speeding, reckless driving, public drinking, illegal parking, excessive noise, or destruction of public property, why should anyone respect those laws for the remainder of the summer? There should be no double standard under the law. To let this go on is shear folly and will invite numerous lawsuits.
This event is flawed on so many levels, it is sometimes hard to pick the one shortcoming that will overwhelmingly convince people that, in its present incarnation, it must be re-examined. This show is a public safety nightmare. When Coastal Highway is a parking lot (most of Saturday), expect response delays from both the police and fire departments. Don’t have a medical emergency, it might take a while. When the traffic is moving, beware the cars around you doing burn-outs and wheelies. The smell won’t help your asthma. What is it going to take? Does someone have to die before the town officials notice that it is dangerous on Coastal Highway? Between the large crowds of drinking spectators and the young, testosterone hyped, day-trippers with loud fast cars, someone is going to be seriously hurt or killed. Hopefully, it won’t be a friend, neighbor or someone you know that becomes a casualty to this event, but given the lack of control, it is just a matter of time.
Remember too that we are a beach resort. It’s about the beach. It’s our brand and our only real commodity. We wait all winter for beautiful spring weekends to enchant new generations of beach-goers. Events like last weekend only kill that magic and destroy our brand. Anyone who visited last weekend looking for a nice beach weekend was deeply disappointed and, if a first time visitor, will probably never return.
This short-sighted tunnel-vision is the result of misguided greed. Wake up Ocean City. We have what most small towns only dream of. It is our town. It is up to us to decide what type of town we want.
‘Free For All’ In OC Cannot Continue
(The following letter was written last year and posted this week on Facebook by the writer. It’s published herein with his permission.)
I’m compelled to write this letter in regard to the recent Cruisin event, or, should I say, the tag along, event crashing, offshoots of the Cruisin event itself.
I’d first like to show my support for Gabriel Mancini’s letter to the Maryland Coast Dispatch. I feel his points and arguments are completely in line with my own feelings. Like Gabby and his family, I’m not a “come here”. I’m a “from here”, with family ties to Ocean City going back to the 1930’s.
What we witnessed last weekend was a complete and total disregard for our town and the people who live here. What started as a way to boost Springfest with registered participants has morphed into a, “free for all,” with all manner of high horse power vehicles ranging from unregistered (for the event) street rods, rat rods, giant diesel pick up trucks and, modern day muscle cars, along with a batch of small import street racers, trashing our town.
Gabby’s points regarding noise, fumes, open containers, trailers, and trash are spot on. Along with an obviously apparent sense on participants and spectators parts of a, “We’re in OC, anything goes” mentality, the resulting “event” should be considered a blight on Ocean City.
And, I’d like to comment on a quote in The Dispatch from Bob Rothermel. You’re totally correct, Bob. This is not a retirement community. Ocean City is supposed to be a family resort. Ocean City is a vibrant, connected group of people who love it here and call Ocean City home. Mr. Rothermel raised a family here, along with a solid number of council members, past council members, mayors, business people and people who love Ocean City. I’m 56 and am nowhere near retirement and, so are a large number of friends who call OC home. We deserve much more.
So, what do we do?
My first suggestion and, one that Mayor Rick Meehan took right from my lips, is to restrict trailers in town. If they are registered for the Cruisin event, they can park at the West OC park and ride or a number of other city owned lots in town. Otherwise, no trailers on the street. I’m a boat owner and cannot keep my trailer on a city street as of May 1. No one else should be able to do so or I should be able to.
Then, we need to enforce open container violations. This needs to be carried out with help from other local municipalities’ officers, along with a solid presence by the Maryland State Police. I own two properties that are separated by a street. I once was stopped by a bicycle officer for carrying a closed bottle of beer from my house to my dock. If I have to abide by that law, then every visitor should have to.
Trash? I’ve never seen Coastal Hwy or Baltimore Ave. look like they did last Sunday. I was appalled. What kind of person treats anywhere like that? And OC is worried about smoking on the beach with cigarette butts being discarded? If OC is going to cater to these people, they need to be treated as the law provides.
Noise? What in the world makes it okay for these guys to let it all hang out by revving their engines that have no or minimal mufflers and peeling out laying rubber all over our streets. Yet, if someone has their radio too loud they get a noise violation and the property owner can be held liable? Yet with some of these cars, they’re probably hitting over 100 decibels or more.
Public safety? I posted a video on Facebook of a burnout that snaked across five or six crosswalks on St. Louis Ave. Just think if that guy or someone else lost control.
Fumes? Need I say more?
This “thing” has gotten away from the event organizers, the city and the state. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
I want to finish by saying that I recognize that this event brings money to town and helps me with my taxes. However, at what cost?
I just finished the May 20 Daily Buzz E-News article from The Dispatch. It’s obvious, and I was in Ocean City, the event is out of control. We have a condo on 76th Street but only went north for dinner every night. Why limit our dinner choices? Everyone loses.
I would suggest the following easy steps:
- Arrest the violators. Huge bail like in Texas with the biker situation. Make a statement with some jail time.
- In addition to above, as Rothermel stated, pull their registration card of participants and ban them from all future events .
Public Safety Menace
In response to this week’s electronic story on Cruisin, if we continue with the terrible noise, drag racing and the dangerous antics of these people, someone will get killed. Some child will be hit crossing a street or a family will be in the wrong place at the wrong time and then it will happen. Just look at the skid marks all over our streets.
We are supposed to have a noise ordinance and when they are here you can’t even hear the radio in your own car from the noise. The attitude seems to be if the money is right we can ignore public safety, along with our noise ordinance and turn a blind eye to cars ripping up and down our streets.
From what I saw, it was not just a small group of people. When a tragedy occurs, watch how fast amnesia sets in for those people who said, “well we’ll fix it next time. It isn’t so bad and the money is good.” I believe it’s just a matter of time.
Where Was The Police?
I agree with the residents Cruisin weekend has got to be changed. We live on 141st Street and cars were doing 60 mph in a 25 mph zone and not a policeman in sight anywhere. Anyone with sense will get out of town on these weekends. Why should we? What kind of officials do we have here that cannot see what is happening to OC just for the money, money, money?
Please can someone help us. Do we have a police department or just PR people? I hear from those involved and say how great it is. Do they live here? We are no better than Baltimore. When will windows get broken, etc.
Letters addressed to you used to be the first thing I looked for when I opened the weekly The Dispatch. Now, I skim the page looking for the sender. I am not interested in reading the missals written by people who seem to have nothing better to do with their time than criticize everything and everyone connected with the town of OC.
I am therefore writing this letter to you just to tell you what a great job the Maryland Coast Dispatch does. Whether I’m physically living at the beach or wishing I was from Towson, I can assure you that I look forward to Friday’s edition. It keeps me in touch with the events and happenings in a town I call home – if only in my imagination.
Thank You dear Editor for producing such a well written newspaper.
Traffic Signal Welcomed
The new traffic signal and crosswalk at 101st Street which was just erected last week are both items that I believe were no doubt needed and will serve the public extremely well including guests at the Clarion Resort Hotel.
I am a year-round resident in the mid-town area. Prior to the crosswalk and light being erected, I would often see pedestrians running both to and from the Clarion’s other parking lot across Coastal Highway from the hotel and not just in season, but often in the heart of winter because of the hotel having events throughout the year.
I would like to thank the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Mayor and City Council for the approving for these items to be erected for Ocean City.
She’s not dead but her 46-year legacy will haunt that school when she retires this summer.
If you were “inspired” by Gwendolyn Lehman at Stephen Decatur High School say “amen”, but wait. Read below first because you might change your mind.
I struggled in school. I was terrified by my inability to spell and would have panic attacks over formal testing. Yet I wanted to be a story teller. I shared my anxiety with Mrs. Lehman and she said, “John no one gives a *&#@ if you can spell there’s editors for that, just focus on telling good stories.” That pretty much sums her up. She knew what was important and never hid behind the educational standards that have increasingly become the disparity between, what schools make you fear you need to know and what really applies to life. You could trust that Mrs. Lehman would tell you the truth and it would resonate in your gut. Even if it was hard to hear.
Blah, blah, blah, everyone is gonna be telling Gwen Lehman how much she gave and how much she inspired. But any half decent teacher hears that. Plus I don’t think it really does anything for her anymore, except maybe make us feel good to blabber on about it.
This is the part you might not agree with but this is what I saw.
Gwen Lehman was an opportunist. A creative-mastermind-kind of opportunist who saw the potential in some red neck high schoolers to fill out her creative expressions. And she had this school system that sort of feared her because she was that damn good. So they mostly let her do what she wanted. Oh yes, she was tough. Not like the throw erasers at your head kind of tough. You just simply didn’t want to let down. I’d have preferred a 2×4 to the head then to creatively disappoint Gwen Lehman. So what the hell was it? Why was she so damn potent? Because she cared? Because she believed in you? Nope.
Gwen Lehman had a magical level of self-assuredness, a hidden bounty of common sense, a willingness to be vulnerable and candid when it mattered and to top it all off she just had impeccable taste. And you knew that. And you wanted to be in the light of that. In Hollywood they call it the “it factor.”
So what credit does Gwen Lehman really deserve? Perhaps it’s that she had “it” and rather than go off and try to make it “big,” she bloody stayed at Stephen Decatur High School and let her students could go off and do all that other crap.
Every one of you that believed in her and respected her benefitted from a rare mutualistic relationship like no other anywhere in the universe. The very universe, that for eternity, will be positively Affected by the ripples of talent that she fostered.
Thanks Gwen, may you be blessed by a billion shooting stars for not only fighting through your own creative struggles as an artist but for the way you chose to show us the truth.
Now if you sort of agree with my convoluted way of trying to pinpoint this unicorn like teacher, give her an “amen”.
Rezoning Talk Appalling
Again, the City Council is trying to usurp the US Constitution with their latest gulag tactics of controlling people’s behavior. Now they are upset that people are having fun while on vacation. Drinking, singing, talking, swimming and just having fun, but it’s too loud for residents, especially the Mallard Island crowd.
After all, they just finished working at the OC restaurants, bars and other vacationer venues that they own and would like some quiet time to count the day’s receipts and ponder how to get more monies from the vacation crowd. But please, keep it down.
The counsels efforts on this issue are wasteful, as any contraction of a rights inured to a property cannot be arbitrarily imposed. Further, it’s an illegal taking of someone’s property and that is against the law. However, the council could condemn the properties, similar to the Connecticut action (deemed legal by the courts) but that would mean that all of Mallard Island would have to be condemned and taken over by the city. I’m sure the council could implement that plan without any opposition. And you thought the Boardwalk performers yelled and protested, wait until they see the legal barrage brought by those citizens.
How many times does the council have to get beat on the head before they realize that they are not allowed to control people’s morays?
While I’m more than sympathetic to the inconvenienced owners, Mallard Island is wealthy enough to hire its own security patrol and that is allowed.
They advertise “Come to Ocean City”, for what? Can’t talk on the Boardwalk, watch your language, can’t smoke on the beach, can’t wear clothing that OC doesn’t like and please don’t have any fun on the Boardwalk.
Maybe the new vacation campaign can pitch the “Can’t find the time to vacation?” slogan and follow it up with why Ocean City is the perfect place.
Come to Ocean City because you can’t do anything here. Better still, just send the money you would spend and take a virtual vacation because you can in Ocean City.
Poppy Meaning Explained
While the poppy plant has always been notorious for their hallucinogenic properties, they actually have a very unique history and meaning. During World War I, one of bloodiest battles fought took place in the battle fields in France. At that time, when soldiers were killed in the line of duty, they were buried in the fields in which they died. In 1919, the spring following the end of the war it was noticed that poppies bloomed in abundance where all of those soldiers had been buried, and that a replica of the poppy has become the flower memorializing our fallen soldiers.
The American Legion was the first national organization to adopt the poppy as its Memorial Flower in 1920 with the American Legion Auxiliary following suite in 1921. Every year, our disabled veterans make paper poppies for the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program. The auxiliaries across the country find creative ways to promote the program and sell the poppies. Profits from the sales are distributed to the welfare and relief for servicemen and servicewomen and their families, thus fulfilling the true meaning of the poppy, an emblem of faith: faith which is being kept with all who died through service to the living.
The American Legions, Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, and Legion Riders in northern Worcester County will be coming together to provide a Memorial Service Ceremony on Sunday, May 24 at 8 a.m. in front of Stevenson Methodist Church on Main Street in Berlin. Please feel free to join us, make a donation and wear your poppy with pride.
(The writer is the president of the Berlin/Ocean City American Legion Auxiliary.)